"A very special occasion, a wonderful day."
That's how a delighted Summerhill College principal Tommy McManus described last Thursday.
But he emphasised it did not happen by accident but was due to "a lot of hard work by a great many people".
He said Summerhill College was "a very special place".
And although it had changed dramatically since it moved from Athlone to Sligo in 1857, he said the spirit of the college had remained constant.
"It is a spirit of respect, of camaraderie and inclusivity.
"There is a friendship between staff and students based on mutual respect that does not exist to the same extent in other schools.
"Summerhill still retains its proud academic tradition.
"We still achieve on the sports field over a complete range of sports that very few schools can match.
"And with our new sporting facilities, I am sure that winning tradition will continue.
"Our cultural tradition in the musical and dramatic fields continues to flourish."
He pointed out that although Summerhill is a Catholic school, it welcomed boys "from all faiths and none".
Neither did it discriminate in enrolment on academic, cultural or financial backgrounds.
He also said he was proud the college had provided access to secondary education to some boys through its autism unit.
And he was delighted the Department of Education had agreed to the building of a second autism unit to accommodate a second class.
He said the strength of the college came from its staff.
He thanked all, past and present, who had worked in the college.
"The Christian ethos and example you have given has had a positive influence on so many young lives and moulded them into model citizens," he said.
Concluding, he told all: "I give you thanks on behalf of the many who have befitted from your hard work in Summerhill College."